Photos of Fracking Operations
The Marcellus Shale encompasses most of the Central Appalachians (see gray area). The layer varies in thickness (50 feet to 250 feet) and depth under the surface (surface outcrops to 2 miles under).
Of course, the "low-hanging fruit" is exploited first. Such determining factors include available existing infrastructure (such as pipelines and storage), available water and disposal, availability of minerals leasing, existing environmental regulations and the liklihood of future industry-compatible regulations, and markets.
The Jonah Gas Field is a large natural gas field in the Green River Basin in Wyoming. Its 21,000 acres are managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
This aerial photo shows the density that gas drilling can encompass when fully developed. Unseen is the tremendous volume of water required to drill utilizing horizontal fracking technology. Also unseen is the environmental damage to the land, wildlife (such as Sage Grouse), and aesthetics.
Photo by James Luong
Well Pad in Wetzel County, West Virginia. In the hilly lands that encompass most of Appalachia, hilltops often are leveled. Temporary water holding ponds are set up. Roads are carved to the site.
These well pads run day and night, 365 days per year with loud noise and nighttime lighting.
Residents of Wetzel County attest that their former idyllic way of life is over. Everything has changed. Many residents are now hauling their drinking water inasmuch as even their livestock refuse to drink the nearby contaminated water.
Narrow, crooked Appalachian roads do not make for a good fit for heavily loaded chemical, sand, and water trucks. Or trucks hauling in large drilling equipment.
Accidents abound. For example, in a space of 12 days in the area near Wetzel and Marshall counties, West Virginia, and just across the Ohio River in Ohio, 7 fracking truck accidents occurred.